LOS ANGELES — Led by a pair of precocious rookies, the Los Angeles Dodgers got themselves right back into the NL championship series.
Hyun-Jin Ryu outpitched Adam Wainwright with seven innings of three-hit ball, and Yasiel Puig tripled home a run to help Los Angeles beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 Monday night in Game 3.
Adrian Gonzalez’s RBI double ended a 1-for-17 drought for the Dodgers with runners in scoring position. An ailing Hanley Ramirez added a run-scoring hit as Los Angeles handed Wainwright his first postseason loss and trimmed its deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Game 4 is today at Dodger Stadium, with Ricky Nolasco scheduled to start against St. Louis right-hander Lance Lynn.
“The playoffs are one-day momentum swings,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Right now I feel like we’ve kind of grabbed it.”
Los Angeles got Ramirez and center fielder Andre Ethier back in the lineup after both proved in batting practice they were healthy enough to play. Ramirez wore a lightweight flak jacket to protect his broken left rib — having been hit by a pitch from Joe Kelly in Game 1 — while Ethier has been bothered by shin splints.
“What can I say? It couldn’t be better,” Ramirez said. “Really happy we got the first win. Just come back tomorrow and even up the series.”
Wainwright entered 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA and four saves in 15 career postseason games, including six starts. He pitched St. Louis past Pittsburgh in the division series, going the distance in a decisive Game 5 last Wednesday.
The right-hander tossed seven strong innings this time, allowing two runs and six hits with five strikeouts and no walks. Ryu, however, was even better.
The two were nearly even through the first three scoreless innings, with Wainwright giving up one hit. Ryu, who struggled in his first postseason start in the division series against Atlanta, retired 12 of his first 13 batters, yielding only a walk.
Ryu was much improved after lasting just three innings as the first South Korean pitcher to start a playoff game last week against the Braves. He allowed four runs on six hits for a no-decision in a game the Dodgers won.
The left-hander didn’t permit a Cardinals runner past second base. David Freese’s single to right leading off the fifth was their first hit of the game.
Freese was replaced by a pinch-runner because of tightness in his right calf. He is day to day.
Ryu struck out four and walked one.
“I was potentially thinking about that this could be the last game I pitch here this season,” the rookie said through a translator. “I just zoned in.”
Major League Baseball noted on Twitter that the nine combined runs in the series are the fewest ever through three games of a league championship series, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Tigers turn to Verlander after Game 2 collapse
The last time Justin Verlander took the mound, his team’s season was on the line.
The stakes won’t be quite that high for his next start, but the Detroit Tigers could certainly use another brilliant performance from their star right-hander after blowing a chance to take control of the AL championship series.
Detroit wasted a five-run lead Sunday night in Game 2, allowing the Boston Red Sox to even the series with a 6-5 victory. David Ortiz’s tying grand slam in the eighth inning snapped the Red Sox out of a hitting funk, and if Boston goes on to win the pennant, there may be little doubt about the turning point in this series.
Verlander’s job is to steady the defending AL champion Tigers in tonight’s Game 3 at Comerica Park.
“Obviously that was a tough one,” Verlander said. “At the same time you know this series is going to be a dogfight. Nobody is going to walk over anybody.”
The Tigers looked like they were ready to roll through the series after they won the opener and took a 5-0 lead in Game 2. Anibal Sanchez held Boston hitless for six innings on Saturday, and Max Scherzer allowed a run and two hits in seven innings Sunday.
Boston trailed 5-1 in the eighth in Game 2 before a remarkable rally against four relievers. Ortiz tied it with a two-out grand slam off closer Joaquin Benoit.
After a pedestrian regular season by his standards, Verlander pitched 15 scoreless innings in the division series against Oakland, including eight in a winner-take-all Game 5. The Tigers have taken no-hitters into at least the sixth inning in three straight games, a remarkable feat even for a staff that set a major league record with 1,428 strikeouts during the regular season.
Detroit’s starters have picked up where they left off during last year’s American League playoffs, when the Tigers’ rotation posted a 1.02 ERA through the division series and ALCS. Detroit won the AL pennant before being swept by San Francisco in the World Series.